Amaryllis & Paperwhite Bulb Guide

Posted on October 26th, 2022

Blooming Calendar and Planting Guide

Quick Tips

  • Plant: October – April
  • Flowering period: December – June
  • Flowering time: 7-10 weeks
  • More flowers on larger bulbs
  • Store unplanted bulbs 40-50°F

Planting Amaryllis Bulbs

  • If you can’t put the bulb in a pot right away, store it in a cool, dry, dark place until you can.
  • Amaryllis bulbs may not bloom if they are in too large a pot. There should be no more than 1 inch of space on each side of the bulb and 1/3 of the bulb should be above the soil line. They prefer to be a bit cramped (pot-bound).
  • Use well-draining potting soil.
  • Before planting, soak the bulb’s roots in lukewarm water for a few hours to rehydrate them.
  • Put a layer of soil in the bottom of the pot and position the bulb so the top sticks up above the rim of the pot. Firm the soil around the edge, leaving the top third of the bulb exposed. If planted too deeply, the bulb may rot.
  • Place the pot in a bright spot and water, but be wary of overwatering. Allow the soil to dry a bit between waterings.
  • Expect beautiful, lily-like blooms in 6 to 8 weeks.

Tip: For a continuous display, start a few bulbs at 2-week intervals. As one finishes blooming, the next will be reaching its peak.

Caring for Amaryllis Bulbs

  • Display the amaryllis away from drafts in a bright room, but not in direct sunlight.
  • Amaryllis prefers temperatures in the range of 60° to 70°F (15.5° to 21°C). Keep them away from freezing windows and drying radiators.
  • Water sparingly. Only water when the top inch of the potting mix is dry, taking care not to get water on the neck of the bulb.
  • To promote blooming, you can fertilize with Van Wilgen’s All Purpose Slow Release Plant Food.
  • When the flower stalk appears, move the amaryllis into brighter sunlight. Turn the pot every several days for even lighting and to prevent leaning.
  • If the stalk starts to lean, insert a stake next to it, taking care not to disturb the bulb. Amaryllis tends to be top-heavy, so stake proactively.
  • Once your amaryllis is blooming, you can move it to a cooler location out of direct sunlight to make the blossoms last longer.
  • After the flowers have faded, cut them off to prevent seed formation. Cut the stem off at the top of the bulb.
  • Grow the amaryllis as a foliage plant through the spring and summer until the leaves turn yellow. Then store the potted bulb on its side in a cool, dark room or basement to rest for 8 to 10 weeks. See more “post-bloom” tips below.


How to Care for Amaryllis After Flowering

One of the most frequently asked questions after the holidays is, “Now that my amaryllis has finished flowering, how can I get it to bloom again?” Yes, those bulbs can take center stage again next Christmas if given proper care.

After blossoming, the bulb needs to grow and store food for the next season’s bloom.

Once the blossoms have faded, cut off the flower stalk, but keep the leaves growing by placing the pot in a warm, sunny spot. Water regularly and fertilize weekly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. This is when next year’s buds are formed within the bulb.

 Keep the plant growing all summer long; you can even move it outside for the summer. Bring it in at the end of August and cut OFF the watering. Let it dry out to induce a period of dormancy. Put the pot in a cool (around 50°F), dark place. Pull off any dried-up leaves.

To induce flowering in time for Christmas, bring the plant into a warm, sunny location and resume watering around in early to mid-November (see our blooming guide)